Uranium: One Thing Dems and Republicans Agree on in Colorado

April 6 2010, 11:23 AM

A bill that would mandate uranium mills to clean up past pollution before they are allowed to expand their operations has passed the state House on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote (62-2). House Bill 1348, dubbed the Uranium Processing Accountability Act, also requires companies to notify residents about drinking water near radioactive contamination, among other measures, reports The Colorado Independent. The "vote is absolutely amazing," says Matthew Garrington, program advocate of the nonprofit watchdog group Environment Colorado. "Never before have we seen such strong bipartisan support on uranium legislation." The bill is in part a reaction to newfound interest in uranium mining and milling, which comes amid national efforts to create more nuclear power to help curb human influences on climate change. The legislation could kill Cotter Corporation's plans to refurbish and reopen the shuttered CaƱon City mill, reports The Denver Post. Because final cleanup of contaminated groundwater at the site "could be 50 years from now," the bill, which now heads to the state Senate, would prohibit Cotter's project to bring in and process 500,000 tons a year of uranium from northern New Mexico, says the company's vice president.